7 ways to fail with Account Based Marketing in 2020

Cecilia Bylund • 9 Jun, 2020

Account Based Marketing for B2B

Three letters represent one of the most powerful marketing techniques ever developed: ABM. Everyone’s doing it, and you have heard about the legendary ROI that ABM programs deliver. ABM is more important than ever, but you should keep in mind that it isn’t always easy to do and implement.  
In our recent webinar together with Bev Burgess, ITSMA, she shared 7 ways to fail with Account Based Marketing, the highlights of the webinar can be found in this blog post. 

Avoid making these 7 mistakes if you are looking to succeed with your Account Based Marketing: 

Mistake 1: Don’t partner with sales 

Marketing managers often try to do ABM as a marketing campaign and then just hand over the leads to saleswithout partnering with the sales team. What you are missing out here is agreeing with sales  which is the most common mistake 

To succeed with your ABM, you must team up with sales and align your goals and find out how you partner on executionsIf sales don’t understand what you need from them and what you can give them – they are going to lose interest and you will lose all momentum with your program.  

 Mistake 2: Have MQL myopia

A lot of people say that they will try ABM to compare it with their standard demand generation campaign and then see a better ROI. You might get that, but you might not.  

Demand generation campaigns are about getting leads, and ABM is much broader than that and nothing you can’t succeed with if you only focus on measuring MQLs.  

So, instead of just thinking about leads when you are building your ABM program, think about these three buckets: 

  • How are you going to help your company build new and deeper relationships?
  • How are you going to build your reputation in the account or accounts that matters? 
  • How are you going to build more profitable and sustainable revenue?

Mistake 3: Accept any account 

You will meet sales people who wants to swap an account they don’t want for this month to a new one. But you can’t get any traction with that kind of changing and chopping. Think about where these goes if they go out of your program.  

If your customer has received customized content from you and suddenly don’t, they will notice it and feel unloved.  

If they were in a one-to-one ABM program, move them to a one-to-many approach instead of just drop them out of the program and forget they exist. You have to be really careful how you choose your accounts and don’t accept any account that’s given to you. 

Mistake 4: Add ABM to your day job

When you work with ABM, you can’t just add it to all the field marketing jobs that you already are doing on an everyday basisBut a lot of people try this, and if you are one of them you must act and ask what you can stop doing – if you should continue doing ABM you need to allocate time. A general rule is that you need one day per account to be successful.  

Mistake 5: Jump straight into tactics

If you have managed to get someone to agree to an ABM pilot, or to scale ABM across more accounts, you want to win them quickly and give them confidence. It’s easy to jump straight into tactics  but what happens is that the account team will see you as somebody who just go off and execute. 
ABM must start with insights, so you must understand your account inside out. Executives want you to understand them, their business, their industry and their role – so you have to do proper research on them before you decide which way you should communicate.

Mistake 6: Think it’s just about targeted online ads 

An easy mistake is to think that ABM is just about targeted online ads. There is no doubt that it is a powerful tactic – but it’s not the only one. A lot of executives want to meet you, your subject matter experts and your service delivery people and not just be sold to all the time. This is the way to build a trusted advisor or strategic supplier relationship.  

So, it’s way beyond targeted online ads and you’ve got a whole raft of tools and techniques that you can use. What tools and techniques you should choose depending on what the account team need and what they are trying to do in the account.  

Mistake7: Don’t use technology 

There are still some marketing managers doing ABM that isn’t using a tech stack. If you are in a larger company and competing against other large companies for high value clients – you need to use technology.  

You can use technology in various different ways and most companies use multiple sources of intent data. There’s a raft of technology out there that you could be using, and I think it’s a mistake to think you can do ABM without technology.  

Would you like to know more about ABM? Download our eBook for B2B tech companies here!